Leading-up to the hottest day on record for the UK, 40oC in Southern England, COPSE and partners have been busy watering newly planted fruit trees on all of our orchards. Many of the orchards were parched and dry, however Puttenham Orchard (photographed above), a chalk downland site was surprisingly fairly verdant with many plants still in flower, such as Marjoram. As well as watering, weeding and applying mulch helps fruit trees, by reducing competition for water from other plants and reducing evaporation from the soil. Liphook Parish have a 10,000 litre rain harvesting tank to help water Fletcher’s Field’s trees.
On 3rd June COPSE teamed-up with Haslemere Biodiversity Group (HBG), at Haslemere’s Jubilee Charter Fair, giving Yellow Rattle plugs away to residents in return for photos on how their wildflower areas flourish. COPSE also promoted our Platinum Jubilee Project and HBG displayed the Wildlife Corridors identified across the Town and Biodiversity Mini-projects. Later in June along a woodland Wildlife Corridor in the Town, Gareth with the Surrey Dormice Group picked-up a pair of Dormice in torpor, sleeping-off the ‘June Gap’, when forage is in short supply. Tree and hedgerow flowers are over, but berries and nuts have not yet developed.
During June the Lottery Community Connections Funding helped us to plant a further 14 trees in celebration of the Queen’s Coronation and either side of the Jubilee weekend we planted further trees at the Watts Gallery Orchard space (1st June), Grayswood Forest School Orchard (6th June) and additional trees at Fletcher’s Field, Liphook (15th June, see March-News). We chose summer planting sites where the owners are committed to watering the trees, using potted trees. We will have a break now to seek out a further 54 trees and new orchard spaces for planting in Autumn (September-October) and Winter (November-December) periods.
This 2022 project plans to plant 70 heritage fruit trees, as well as pollinating native hedging with members of the Community in towns, villages and parishes around us. On 25th May Hilary Neilson planted the first of our fruit trees, a Padley Pippin (Heritage London Apple) at Swan Barn Orchard in Haslemere, followed by Mandy later that day planting a Claygate Pearmain (Surrey Apple) at Queenway Orchard Space, Cranleigh.
Thank you to the Swan Barn Orchard Group, Cranleigh and Queensway residents for helping us to make the day a special one and look forward to planting more trees this year.
Also, find us on instagram - https://www.instagram.com/cop_southeast/
Gareth is an ecologist interested in conserving traditional orchards and heritage fruit, for people and wildlife.